Camp Makomanai

2013-05-26 SAPPORO, JAPAN -- Camp Makomanai (a Japanese army base in south Sapporo city) opened its doors to the public for a day of performances and exhibits.

Camp Mamokamai is home to the JGSDF 11th Brigade. The brigade is composed mostly of infantry and artillery. I received some of my own training here.

Servicemen entertain visitors with taiko drums. This band has only men, but there are many women drummers too.

Almost all aircraft in the Japanese army are helicopters. The air force has fighters and transports but no bombers. The navy has anti-submarine surveillance aircraft.

In a mock battle, armored personnel carriers (the 8-wheeler in the middle) of the 18th infantry regiment advances towards the enemy under cover of suppression fire by the 11th artillery (the tracked vehicles with guns). Self-propelled howitzers are not tanks. Howitzers fire upwards (that is, at high trajectories) to reach targets beyond line of sight.

Most of the static displays (that is, exhibits that are for looking at) consisted of equipment used in disaster relief. The photo below is a triage center.

A decontamination tent. The army seriously prepares for nuclear, biological, and chemical attack.

Inside the decontamination tent, there are low-pressure and high-pressure sprays for removing hazardous materials.

If your area becomes a disaster zone, then you might live in tents like these. They are roomier than backpacking tents.

The Japanese army provides furo baths to keep civilians happy. In America, you get coffee.

The tent walls have been removed to show the interior. The inside looks just like a regular public bath.

Lots of water is needed. I often suspect that most of army cargo is water. But soldiers aren’t allowed to drink it: “Save it for your buddy.” I got used to not drinking water during exercises. American soldiers drink all they want.

Soldiers meticulously protect visitors from sharp objects. Here’s a tent peg covered in a plastic bottle.

During break time, a soldier does chin ups by the barracks.